The Babson Survey Research Group has surveyed faculty over the past few years about the factors they use in choosing textbooks.

“Comprehensive content” and “Price” are the top factors faculty use to choose their textbooks, according to Opening the Textbook: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2017.

In the previous edition of Opening the Textbook, “Cost to the student” was the top factor with 87% of faculty stating that it was “Important” or “Very important”. “Comprehensive content and activities” had 77% of faculty stating that it was “Important” or “Very important”.

Previous Edition stats

In the latest edition, “Comprehensive content” barely edged out “Price” with 58% stating “Comprehensive content” was “Very important” and 31% “Important”.

On “Price” 56% stated it was “Very important” and 33% “Important”.

Latest Edition stats

This is an interesting trend. What has caused the jump in “Comprehensive content”?

“Cost to the student” is an understandable factor. With the price of textbooks increasing 1,041% between 1977 and 2015 and prices increasing 88% from January 2006 to July 2016, the price is a major concern. In fact, over 66% of students have stated that they have not purchased a textbook because of the price.

Other factors in the survey included “Easy to find”, “Available in print format”, “Available in digital format”, “Adaptable/editable”, “Includes supplemental materials”, “recommended by other faculty”, and “Works with my institutions LMS”.

As you can see in the chart below, “Easy to find” is not far behind “Cost to student” and “Comprehensive Content”.

It’s also interesting to see that despite the availability of digital formats, “available in print format” had 75% say it’s “Very Important” or “Important”.

The least important factor for most faculty was “Works with my institution’s LMS”. Only 35% found it “Very important” or “Important”.

Stats for the factors faculty use in choosing a textbook

Here is a comparison between the previous and current edition of the survey results.

Comparison between editions

What about you? Does this survey reflect your factors in choosing a textbook? Why do you think there is a jump in “Comprehensive content”?